Asian Champions Trophy 2023 will be a litmus test before Asian Games, says Harmanpreet Singh
Excited about playing the Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 in front of hockey fans in Chennai, Indian Men's Hockey Team Captain Harmanpreet Singh expressed his team's eagerness to take on Asian rivals at home this year.
He said, "For many of us it will be the first time that we will be playing in Chennai. I remember our seniors talking about the Asia Cup in 2007 held in Chennai which was a great tournament for India, defending the title in a successful campaign."
This will be the seventh edition of the coveted Asian Champions Trophy and it is scheduled to be held from 3rd August to 12th August 2023 serving as a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September where teams will vie to win Gold and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. "This will be an ideal tournament for us to see where we stand against the same teams with whom we will be competing in the Asian Games. It will be a litmus test for the team ahead of the Asian Games."
"The Hero Asian Champions Trophy Chennai 2023 will also give us a good understanding of our opponents and we can further prepare well for the Asian Games where we aim to win the Gold Medal and directly qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics," added the ace dragflicker.
The Indian Men's Team won the Asian Champions Trophy Title in the inaugural edition held in 2011 and beat Pakistan in the Final to win the Title in 2016. In the following edition in 2018, India were joint winners with Pakistan after rain affected the proceedings of the Final held in Muscat. In the previous edition in 2021 held in Dhaka, the Indian Team finished the campaign with a Bronze Medal.
With Korea and Malaysia showcasing good form in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup 2023 Bhubaneswar-Rourkela, Harmanpreet said that the competition will be quite closely-fought. "Korea has shown great progress over the last couple of years. They won the Asia Cup in Jakarta last year and also did very well in the World Cup. Malaysia too is a strong contender for the title and they continue to have one of the best PC attacks. It will undoubtedly be a hard-fought tournament," opined Harmanpreet.